New figures form the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) show that the Australian economy is set to lose AUD$35.7bn (US$22.6bn) in direct expenditure over the next 12 months.
These figures are due to 96% of business events scheduled for 2020 being cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The data was derived from a study of businesses across the business events industry. The study also predicts that a further AU$17.2bn (US$10.9bn) in direct value to the economy will be lost is addition. This is due to the coronavirus rapidly and indefinitely closing down events across Australia, BECA notes.
Staffing losses within the industry are estimated to reach over 92,000 between the end of 2019 and 30 June 2020. Of those staff already laid off between the end of 2019 to March 2020, four in five (78%) were casual or freelance workers, while one in five (22%) were employed on a permanent basis.
Three in five businesses within in the industry (59%) believe it will take them at least a year to recover once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
The event industry has been growing at around 6% annually since 2014 in Australia. In FY19 it directly generated over AU$35bn (US$22.2bn) in economic activity and employed over 229,000 people. The huge loss of revenue as a result of Covid-19, compounds the impact of the bushfires earlier this year.
In response, BECA announced that it is working with the Government to implement a coordinated industry strategy. The Covid-19 Business Events Response & Recovery Framework aims to sustain the business events industry over the next 12 months and enable it to rebound and grow effectively following the pandemic.
Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia, Dr Vanessa Findlay, said: “Australia’s business events industry is not only a major direct contributor to the economy but also an important catalyst for business. It enables networks and partnerships, fosters confidence and investment, acts as a market place for buyers and sellers and supports regional dispersal and development.
“However, in just a few months Covid-19 has brought the industry to its knees. It is not just experiencing hibernation today but complete loss of revenue. The industry was first to feel the impacts when gatherings were banned following the pandemic outbreak, and it is looking increasingly likely that gatherings will be the last activity that is reinstated.
“This is why, on behalf of the industry, BECA has moved quickly to develop the coordinated Covid-19 Business Events Response and Recovery Framework and is working closely with Government on its implementation. Supported by a well-developed policy aligned to Australia’s competitive strengths, the business events industry will play a critical role in the recovery and rebound of Australia’s broader economy from this pandemic.”
The Covid-19 Business Events Response & Recovery Framework is currently being finalised in consultation with the Australian government and will be made public at a later date.
The framework comprises of two key phases: Response and Recovery (rebound and regrowth). Further details are available at www.businesseventscouncil.org.au.